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Greenport Harbor Ale bottle

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. rolled out its new line of bottles on April 20. Here are the stories behind the surreal and imaginative images featured on the bottles, designed by artist Scott Bluedorn.

Harbor Ale

The whale in the image is a North Atlantic right whale, the very same species that was actually spotted in Greenport Harbor in October 2014. This is one of rarest whales in the world, let alone one of the most endangered species in existence, with numbers estimated at only about 600 individuals left in the wild. The right whale was nearly decimated in the 19th century because it was the “right” whale to hunt, it is full of oil and floats when dead. The combination of this beautiful animal with the architecturally characteristic shingling of the east end of Long Island serves to link these things as part of our heritage. Originally, I created a variation of the whale with the brewery on its back and a cutaway view of the industrial brewing process in its belly … a really fun image. It was decided, however, to go with the original drawing, which has a very distinct and magical feel.

Greenport Harbor Black Duck porter bottle
Courtesy Photo

Black Duck Porter

The illustration for the Black Duck Porter is based on the story of the “Black Duck,” a rumrunning boat used in Prohibition times to smuggle alcohol from Rhode Island into New York City — in which a famous shooting by the Coast Guard led to the eventual repeal of the Prohibition amendment. I took elements of the boat itself and worked it into the body of a black duck (a once locally prominent and endangered species on Long Island) to create a hybrid mechanical animal. You can see the barrels of illicit ale rolling out of the bill, gangplank into the water … just like the Black Duck boat would offload its cargo for pickup.

Greenport Harbor Otherside IPA bottle
Credit: Courtesy photo

Otherside IPA

This idea gave us the most trouble to satisfy visually. The idea behind the beer itself is that it is an East Coast version of a hoppy West Coast India Pale Ale, where the craft beer movement started. The otherside idea had to reflect (no pun intended) this abstract idea of being somehow opposite but the same, like a mirror. Many concepts later, we arrived at the image of a submarine in the form of a striped bass probing the surface of the ocean, but right side up in an upside-down environment. This idea is funny in so many ways — imagining this craft piloted by an underwater species exploring the above-water world in the same way we would. The periscope is aimed at some fishermen in a little dory, and they are mutually curious. The striped bass is, of course, relevant to our region as a prime game fish, the life-blood of our offshore and sport fishing industry, and yet is constantly the object of debate between conservationists and fishermen. The species is currently enjoying a slight rebound to historic numbers but subject to strict regulation and an on-and-off-again moratorium.

Greenport Harbor Summer Ale bottle
Courtesy photo

Summer Ale

The Summer Ale is light and airy and made with real honey. We naturally decided on a honeybee to illustrate this idea, and crossed it with the familiar image of the small plane carrying a banner that is so common during the summer months on the beach. It was fun to try to design the aircraft with insect features. The honeybee is also the subject of alarming debate in recent years as they have been seriously reduced by colony-collapse disorder as well as insecticides and habitat loss.

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